2016 Tours

Vergilian Society Summer Tours 2016

Monument lists are subject to change based on closings for restoration and other factors outside our control. Every attempt is made to see that we visit as many of the sites listed as possible.

Vergilian Society tours are designed to appeal to the needs of a wide range of travelers including high school and college students and instructors; they are particularly suitable for instructors bringing a group of students. We specifically welcome nonprofessionals interested in the ancient Mediterranean.

The Rocky World of the Romans: A Study of Romans on the Bay of Naples and Their Physical Environment
June 25 – July 6, 2016
Directors: Joseph M. Romero & Jodie L. Hayob, University of Mary Washington
The peoples occupying the Bay of Naples in classical antiquity can have had little idea just how “interesting” the whole area was geologically: before February 63 AD, Mt. Vesuvius provided a quiet backdrop for a region endowed with the best natural port in western Italy and numerous natural resources, including hot springs, abundant fishing, and building materials (lumber, tufa, pozzolana cement, etc.).
Price: $2,695

In the Footsteps of Poets and Painters, Proletarians and Princes: Rediscovering the Bay of Naples in Greek and Roman Times

July 11 – 23, 2016
Directors: Ann Koloski-Ostrow, Brandeis University; Steven Ostrow, M.I.T.
Across the fertile terrain and enchanting land- and seascapes of the Bay of Naples and throughout the region of Campania, ancient Greeks and Romans experimented for centuries with building towns and cities, tilling their farms and tending their flocks, and pursuing their daily lives at every level of society.  The world’s earliest archaeological laboratory at Pompeii and Herculaneum (buried by the eruption of Vesuvius), and innumerable other sites across the region, offer a uniquely rich showcase of Graeco-Roman approaches to living both in town and across varied rural settings.  Whether it’s the nitty-gritty level of plebeians shopping and electioneering in the local streets (and refreshing themselves in pubs, fountains, and latrines);  the splendor of suburban and countryside villas enjoyed by top-level Roman aristocrats, like the palatial digs of Emperor Tiberius at Capri and Sperlonga; monumental temple complexes like those of Cumae or Paestum, and Capua’s underground cult-cavern of the Persian god Mithras; the gleaming marble-clad shopping mall at Pozzuoli and colossal amphitheater arenas of Pompeii, Pozzuoli, and Capua; or, finally, the vineyards of Boscoreale and the quiet sheep and cattle paths near distant Saepinum in the mountains:  All these put on vivid display the ingenuity with which Greeks and Romans (and their lesser known Etruscan, Samnite, and Lucanian neighbors) faced the pressures and pleasures of daily life.  We will sample them all, as we explore how these ancient folk tried to make sense of life as individuals, and as members of communities large and small.
Price: $2,695

Greco-Roman Catalunya: Three Cultures in Ancient Spain
June 29 – July 9, 2016
Director: Raymond L. Capra, Ph.D. Seton Hall University
This trip will visit Catalunya, Spain to explore the development and interaction of three distinct cultures, Iberians, Greeks and Romans. Iberia became part of the greater Mediterranean world with the arrival of the first Phoenician traders who come to south in the late ninth/ early eighth century BCE. The first Greek traders were there by the middle of the eighth century. In the early sixth Greeks founded a small city on the northeastern shore of the peninsula, always called by the name which connotes it mercantile origin, Emporion. In the late third century BCE this city becomes the entry point for the Roman conquest of the Peninsula at the onset of the second Punic War.
Price: $2,375, Single Supplement $400

Cyprus: Where East Meets West
July 15 – 25, 2016
Director: Connie Rodriguez Loyola University
The island of Cyprus at the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea has a rich and varied archaeological heritage reflecting its unique position as a crossroads for some of the great civilizations of the world.  Colonized by the Phoenicians, and ruled by the Assyrians, Greeks and Romans – every major civilization of the ancient world recognized and exploited the strategic location of Cyprus in the eastern Mediterranean.  Under the 1878 Cyprus Convention, the Ottoman Turks handed over the administration of the island to Britain.  The island became an independent Republic in 1960.  Since 1974, the island has been divided (the Green Line) between the Cypriot Greeks in the west and Cypriot Turks in the east.  Successive rounds of UN-sponsored talks between the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities since 1974 to resolve the Cyprus problem and reunite the country have been fruitless.
Price: $2,068, Single Supplement $333

Culina Romana, Antiqua Modernaque: A Gastronomer’s Tour of Southern Italy
July 26 – August 7, 2016
Directors: Lorina Quartarone & Steven Tuck
During this 12 day tour of southern Italy, our group will study, view, recreate (and taste!) authentic Italian cuisine through both ancient and modern lenses. Ancient accounts (both Greek and Roman) will provide authentic information regarding food preparation and consumption by the Romans of the ancient world, from modest households to the exotic foods of the wealthy. Modern scholarly sources will supplement our understanding of the processes and matters concerning ancient food production and preparation. We will tour ancient sites – including the best-preserved Roman farms and villas that survive – to discover what they reveal about food from everyday staples to imported and luxury cuisine. In the kitchen of the Villa Vergiliana, we will attempt to reproduce some “authentic” ancient recipes (based on Apicius). Tours of local markets and producers such as wineries and liquor-makers, cheese producers, and fisheries, will round out our survey of how the local cuisine has both expanded through modern production and technological advantages and remained rooted in the natural resources and crops both native and easily-adapted to the climate of this extraordinary region of Italy. Many of the establishments we will visit, which have been run as family businesses for generations, will help us learn about the traditions and innovations in production and cultivation.
Price: $2,795, Extension $590